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Iraq War Vet Discovers Passion for Woodwork Crafting

By John Roark | Photography by Rick Gayle

Iraq war veteran James Drury discovered his passion almost by accident when he happened upon the wood shop at the Arizona Veterans Administration. He learned how hardwoods could be repurposed and combined with resin, creating exquisitely crafted serving pieces and cutting boards. The artisan has an affinity for using wood that might otherwise go unnoticed. “I find that urban trees that have fallen or those pulled from a river bottom give the prettiest results, but people overlook them,” he says. “If you put the time and work in, you uncover the beauty and give new life to something that might have been forgotten.”

From front to back: Live-edge end grain cutting board: 15.25"L by 11.25"W by 1"D. $120 Basket weave cutting board: 15.25"L by 11"W by 1.25"D. $175 Mesquite and green resin tray: 21"L by 6"W by 0.5"D. $80 (


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